Ginger, Salt and Oil, a Perfect Condiment for Steamed Fish

The story goes something like this: When Mark Bittman hung out more in Vancouver – because he was/is jazzed about the outstanding selection of Asian cuisine – he happened upon a simply spectacular dipping sauce while noshing at a Richmond Cantonese restaurant.

It is a simple combination of ginger, green onions, oil and salt. And by salt, I mean it is an integral ingredient that sits out front alongside the others. And it is spectacular.
I re-discovered the recipe the other day and decided to pay a repeat visit.
While the original recipe stated by Bittman calls for steamed chicken, the bold flavour combination is brilliant on steamed white fish from cod to halibut. It’s also delicious on steamed rice and vegetables, too. Be forewarned, you’ll be trying this addictive sauce on everything from soup to nuts. Literally.
With 1/2 cup of canola oil, I add a little more than a tablespoon of minced ginger – my rasp produces a nice paste – 1/3 cup of finely chopped scallions – green and white combined – and salt to taste. Don’t be afraid. It wakes up the other flavours. Think of the end result like the savoury version of pop rocks.
And don’t be afraid to play with the balance of flavours either, add more ginger or green onions if you want. There are no fast rules, just use your own sense of taste.
Once the halibut is steamed, drizzle it with a tiny bit of sesame oil and soy, add the sauce as you see fit. The best thing is to issue each person with their own supply.
You’re in for a treat.


4 Responses to “Ginger, Salt and Oil, a Perfect Condiment for Steamed Fish”

  1. Oooh that’s one of my favorite sauces. Thanks for this! It’s Hainan chicken sauce right?

  2. I have never known the name of the sauce, so Hainan chicken sauce it is.
    Many thanks, Z-Mama.

  3. Matt R. says:

    Looks great Shelora, I’ll try it this weekend. I bet it goes great with BBQ pork ribs.

    How about a curry broth? Would probably work well with that as a garnish, too.

  4. canucklehead says:

    The ginger green onion oil is traditionlly served with poached chicken. Another method of making it is to chop the ginger and green onions, add salt – and then add heated oil to finish. Your method is both better and easier. I find the hot oil method to be kinda of scary and also can produce a bitter finished sauce.

    Momofuku uses the sauce in their pork belly bo ssam. Delicous!

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